Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

4.3
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934 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Californian

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Pre/post Theatre
Dobson's Bar and Restaurant is a hidden treasure in the heart of Downtown San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter. For the last 34 years, this has been the hot spot for business lunches and frequented by many local and nationwide celebrities. Paul Dobson, the namesake for Dobson's bar and restaurant, is one of America's few professional Bullfighters. The food is California cuisine with a touch of Italian, French, Spanish and Asian cuisine. One thing that both local San Diegans and Zagat can agree on is that this is one of the top restaurants in San Diego. Due to the limited seating and popularity, reservations are highly recommended. Owner Paul Dobson "works a room better than Sinatra", which explains why this "local tradition" downtown remains, "after all these years", a "high-powered, hobnob spot"; the Cal kitchen "serves up delicious, innovative food, along with old standbys" ("have the mussel bisque and think of heaven").
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Private Dining

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Specials

Happy Hour! 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Come Join Us for a Happy Hour 3: 00 PM - 7:00 PM. Monday - Friday
$6 well Drinks $6 House Wine $6 Local Draft Beer.

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: July 20, 2019

Ends: July 21, 2118

Availability: Mon-Fri 3:00PM-7:00PM

What 934 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DC
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall1food1service3ambience4

We used to love this restaurant but tried it for lunch and dinner and are very disappointed in the quality of the food now.

P
Orange County
11 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful dinner prior to a theater performance. The food was excellent, the service was terrific and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening!!

KP
1 review
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Our favorite place in San Diego. The service is great. Beet salad is delicious. Grilled shrimp was a little overcooked & dry. The filet is cooked to perfection. Short ribs are so tender & moist. Potatoes are delicious & veggies cooked to tender crisp. The BEST is the bread. Crisp & flaky on the outside & warm & tender on the inside with a delicious sourdough flavor. We’ll be back the next time we’re in San Diego

KH
San Diego
76 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We eat there frequently. It is a a charming place.

OT
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Out with my Grandson and work friend. Food was great, service was good.

L
San Diego
23 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

It was very busy and the server was slammed. It took a long tome to get main course as our food came at the same time as a table that ordered 20 minutes after us. My salmon appeared to have sat for awhile under a hot lamp. My friends scallops were delicious. The server was nice and apologetic. We had play tickets so we ate and left.

OT
San Diego
11 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent atmosphere coupled with great dood and service. Makes your evening special!

BR
New England
32 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great for pre or post-theater. We especially enjoyed the mussel soup in a lobster bisque, with French pastry topping and then a lovely dolly if sherry
The staff is lovely!

WH
San Diego
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Always an excellent choice when you ar downtown. the steaks and sea \food are always good and the bar menu offers a wide variety of choices if you want something smaller.

S
San Diego
16 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Went to Dobson’s for dinner before a play on a Wednesday evening and we were seated right away upstairs at a nice table. We ordered drinks fairly quickly and received them probably within 15 mins. We never really knew who our waiter was as we felt very ignored after our drinks came. We tried to order and was told to wait for our waitress. Another waiter came and we were able to order. We ordered the appetizer and asked for some bread and our main courses. We waited and waited and the bread never came. We received our appetizer (which was delicious) and waited for the main course. Next to us, the waitress was telling them about specials (we were never told of any) and they received the bread that might have been meant for us. Over an hour after we sat down, our entrees arrived. I have to say the food was delicious, it just seemed like they were very understaffed for this evening.

B
San Diego
18 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Food was excellent as always. The mussel bisque is simply amazing. Great bread. The special I had - steak - was not quite up to par, good but not great. But still a great restaurant and dependable service.

DE
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Delish! Mussel bisque is a must! Charming restaurant that we will revisit.

OT
New England
3 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Pretty good food. Adequate service.

EL
San Diego
1 review
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The waitstaff is outstanding, and the food is excellent. We ordered from the Restaurant Week lunch menu. Happily, it included their mussel bisque, my favorite.

SW
San Diego
1 review
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience3

Took awhile for waiter to take order even after I said we had theater tickets. Escargot was shriveled and very little juice. Short ribs were dry, almost inedible. I’ve dined at Dobson’s for many years but this meal was barely edible.
Restaurent was not crowded. We allowed 1 1/2 hours and had to rush to get to theater..

m
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food and service.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

We arrived an hour early, and they found a table for us!
Pleasant service and excellent food.

PB
San Diego
8 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The restaurant was very accommodating when I called early in the day to request a downstairs table.

BB
San Diego
13 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience3

Hostess was welcoming and accommodating. Food was good. The server in our section was slammed and the hostess ended up taking care of us the whole night from drink orders, app order, meal ordering and delivery. Didn’t even see the server until we were ready for our check.

Would love to come back for happy hour, but would be sure to sit at the bar or the patio so we can actually get drinks and service in a timely matter.

SC
San Diego
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good friends plus good food equals wonderful memories!

JW
1 review
Dined on August 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Made a reservation a couple nites before as we were going to go to a play at the Lyceum Theater and wanted to show another a good time and I thought of Dobsons.......we had a wonderful time at both Dobsons as well as the play.
Sincerely, Jerry Waldron

AK
Palm Springs
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience3

Would highly recommend the Bisque!! Would not reorder the beet salad or the duck.

DS
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Benjamin was a great server! We had Rep tix and he made the time work. My guest was a first-timer and loved it. It was a bit noisy upstairs and we were squeezed into a corner, but they did a good job with that.
Definitely worth doing when downtown!

S
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Since we dine on occasion at Dobson's, we obviously like the atmosphere, food and service. However, the vegetables (mashed potatoes, greens and carrots) were a bit skimpy. The main dishes - filet Mignon and scallops were excellent and cooked to perfection. As always, the bread was terrific, but it is charged to your bill. Although rather cramped, Dobson's still has a nice ambiance and charm and is a nice place to dine before seeing a play at the Lyceum.

R
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

lovely time in a beautiful setting, great service and delicious food.

OT
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and service. Loved the ambiance.

B
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service, food and ambience, 5 stars from me and my quests.

PB
San Diego
37 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Paul has well run restaurant with a great menu, chef, staff and room. We once again enjoyed our meal thoroughly at this iconic establishment.

BR
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was outstanding. Wait staff, Areceli, was incredible. We were there the first night of Comicon and Conan was appearing next door at the Spreckels. It was bedlam on the streets. Inside Dobon's everything was calm, mainly because of the attentive care from Areceli who went above and beyond. I will definitely return to Dobson's.

M
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall4food3service3ambience3

We were early for our reservation which didn’t seem to matter. We were not asked our name on the reservation and were seated in a nice booth where the waiter was extra friendly. I wondered about the friendliness and were then told that the booth wasn’t for us and we had to move. Strike 1.
We were then seated upstairs at a two top next to their noisy storage. Strike 2.
We ordered a charcuterie platter (nothing French on it..) and were told bread was 1.50 which came much later.
Half way through the charcuterie our dinners came! We were seated at a very small table and there was no room! They should have known and seen that! We felt rushed...
When I ordered my salad, (we were having an early dinner after the theater) I asked if I could have a piece of salmon on it. To do so I had to buy the salmon dinner!
Strike 3 Dobson’s.
We’ve lived in SD many years and have lovely memories of Dobson’s but this experience was not one of them.

D
Los Angeles
46 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Charming "local" feel -- think "Cheers" -- with a warm upper mezzanine seating area, great personal service, interesting menu. The Mussell Bisq

D
San Diego
49 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

My wife and I went to Dobson's prior to the Paul McCartney concert. The service was great, good attention to details. The food was great.

m
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on June 17, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Oozes atmosphere of 60's martini lunches. warm woods, cozy bar, bar tables, and of course the famous mussel chowder. Also great French 75's

EE
1 review
Dined on June 17, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Must try mussel soup..amazing. also recommend crab cakes.
Good wine selection but slow service. Allow extra time.

c
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is my favorite downtown lunch spot for American food. The service is excellent, and the food is delicious.

MR
Birmingham
2 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Have been dining at Dobson's for more than 30 years and always outstanding.

CH
San Diego
14 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience3

May 15, 2019, Husband and I had a reservation at 5:30PM, plenty of time before attending a 7PM performance at Balboa Theater. Our waitress was sweet and she did apologize several times but she did everything wrong. A table of 3 that got there 10-15 min after we sat down got their meals and we were still waiting for our waitress to take our order. We got a free glass of white wine that by the way, it tasted bitter and smelled kind old/stale. We order 2 "famous bisque", scallops (overcooked), and Fish of the day (was okay). Approx 6:20PM waitress showed up with our meals but no bisque, claiming that it wasn't in the order, 3 minutes after she brought us the bill and guess what? 2 bisque and 2 dinners. This is not our first time at Dobson's and probably not the last, not sure yet. PLEASE put your act together.

JC
San Diego
19 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

A reservation is a must at this restaurant. As the kitchen is downstairs the waitstaff have a flight of stairs to climb to the top part. On this occasion waitstaff appeared very busy and rushed off their feet.

WG
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Always enjoy eating there. The food and service are excellent, and it pairs well with the Spreckles theater.

SB
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Jerry Seinfeld Show